Community

AIDS Walk is Sept. 17

Their mission is to empower those living with HIV AIDS in Kitsap County, and the Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year plays a large role in allowing them do it.

On Saturday, Sept. 17, the 2011 AIDS Walk Kitsap will kick off its sixth year at the Bremerton boardwalk with a walk-a-thon. Teams and individuals will cover the course and then celebrate following the event, which will be kicked off by Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent.

The foundation has a multi-tier mission to serve low-income Kitsap County clients living with HIV AIDS and a directing a youth program based in HIV AIDS prevention.

“Help can come in many forms,” said Kim McKoy, executive director of the Kitsap County HIV AIDS Foundation. “Rent or mortgage assistance, food, medicine, it is all important to the health of our clients, she said.”

The foundation’s clients each have different needs and it could be covering COBRA during a job loss or as simple as paying a phone bill for one month in an effort to keep a client in contact with medical providers. Other times, the foundation will cover the cost of the medicines that help people living with HIV AIDS.

Some clients pay back the help, other cannot, McKoy said.

“To go without medicine could be catastrophic,” she said.

With an annual budget of $140,000, the foundation has raised about $28,000 on average in past walkathons. This year the organization hopes to reach the $35,000 mark, McKoy said.

The money raised also helps the largely volunteer organization carry on their Grocery Delivery Program where each week volunteers buy and delivers 60 bags of groceries to families and individual clients. Once every three months, the foundation hosts the Red Ribbon Supper Club that brings together clients for a communal dinner and often a speaker.

Beyond caring for those living with HIV AIDS, the foundation sponsors the Q Center on Friday nights in Bremerton.  With a recent 13 percent uptick in youth HIV AIDS infection, the center is a safe place for young gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered people and their “straight allies,” to go and be themselves openly.

The program builds self esteem and awareness about choices that can be made to avoid contracting HIV AIDS, she said.

 

Walk for a cause

Aids Walk Kitsap is Sept. 17 at 10 a.m.

Starts and ends at the Bremerton Boardwalk

Course to Evergreen Rotary Park and back

More information at Aidswalkkitsap.org or by calling (360) 698-3335

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